I’m about to talk about something very serious. Something that affects many families across the United States. It is hard for me to even write it. It makes it even more real to see it in print. But here goes. My son loves pop music. While he used to be a fan of rock and roll, his tastes have turned more Disney than Def Leppard. And it is hard for my husband and I to accept. For years we could all enjoy music in the car together. And listening to music at dinner included old faves from the Ramones and David Bowie. Now our dinner dance breaks are filled with pop tartlets.
I don’t know where we went wrong. It was always my intention to share all kinds of music with him (except country – eww). From music my mom listened to, which seemed to very much inspire a lot of the bands I am listening to today, to grunge, to jazz to some rap (what’s with all the crassness, you guys?) we wanted him to love it all. He seemed to always gravitate towards rock music and requested a rock and roll themed 3rd birthday party (video invite above).
He loved jamming on his play drums and thought wearing tank tops made him lock like a rock star. He sang along with Beat on the Brat and Blitzkrieg Bop. He nonchalantly started a pretend band and created his own songs. A few of our faves were “You Gotta be Tough”, “Clean People Don’t Get Dirty”, ”I’m So Sorry” – uplifting and rocking.
He dabbled in ballads. This photo was taken moments after he saw a Pete Yorn music video (remember when they used to play music videos on TV?). He sat there, still, taking it all in. Then grabbed his guitar and headed straight to his stage to try his hand at slower style songwriting.
Then there was that day when we were sitting at the table together and I looked over and he was writing his own music. I can only imagine that he picked this up in preschool. It isn’t like we have song books laying around the house. While my husband and I love listening to music, we are NOT musically talented. I had high hopes that he was going to continue on his way to rock super stardom. But somewhere along the way, he decided to start watching the Disney Channel. And started liking the music that the underage phenoms were playing. He started not requesting our usual greatest hits soundtrack and asked me to download the soundtrack to Disney’s Shake It Up and Kids Bop 379. By his Lego Dance Party 6th Birthday party our playlist was almost exclusively pop music. And he was in heaven on the dance floor. But my husband and I would just look at each other, trying to support his obvious love of the music in hopes that one day he would again find a way to let the rock back in.
Then he got the chance to play a little electric guitar at a friend’s house. We thought this would be it! But alas, it hurt his fingers. Why oh why did no one give him a pick!?! I truly believe that if he had used a pick his finger wouldn’t have hurt and he would currently be on an arena tour. But I digress. I would be remiss to not bring up his absolute obsession with Gangnam Style (one potential birthday party theme for his upcoming 7th birthday). For as much as it makes me want to smash the iPod when he plays it on repeat for half an hour (that is my current threshold – I believe that it is physically impossible to listen to it for longer than that without ending up on Oxygen channels show Snapped) he LOVES it. There is no greater joy for him than dancing along to Psy and singing his favorite song. His joy brings me happiness so I allow these marathon dance sessions. I am curious to see where this current love of pop music will lead. He was told by a boy one grade older that Gangnam Style is out and Harlem Shake is in (side note – I totally want to film a Harlem Shake video…) and he has mentioned that to me several times, incredulously. It lead to a discussion on what popular means. But I made sure he knew he was still free to like what he likes. He was relieved but I could see the wheels turning. And I’m pretty sure I will find him checking out Harlem Shake videos on YouTube in the near future. I am still hopeful, however, that he will be open to adding back in some rock music at some point. But even if he doesn’t, I will always love my pop music loving son.